Bain documents offer details on Romney holdings

WASHINGTON — The release of more than 900 pages of internal Bain Capital investment documents by a media website Thursday offered new details on holdings owned by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s family trusts, including offshore account locations and underlying assets.

The confidential records made public by Gawker.com provided financial statements and investor information on 18 Bain investment funds and three hedge funds in which Romney, his wife, Ann, and his children have invested. Some of the funds listed underlying assets that included loans to companies ranging from health care firms to the Las Vegas Sands, the casino owned by major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson.

Gawker.com said Thursday that the files “shed a great deal of light” on Bain’s funds. A spokesman for Bain told media organizations that the release of the data was an “unauthorized disclosure.”

The massive trove of Bain materials adds to the public’s knowledge of the inner workings of some of the funds that the Romneys own through family trusts. In several of the funds, the family owns more than $1 million each in holdings. But the documents did not provide any new major revelations about either the Romneys’ personal holdings or their tax strategies, and left veteran tax and legal experts speculating on the cache’s informational value.

One expert on private equity taxation, University of Colorado law professor Victor Fleischer, said Thursday in a blog posting that the records from one entity, Bain Capital Fund VII LP, a Cayman Islands-based offshore account, showed that the fund’s managers appear to have converted their fees from ordinary income to future capital gains. Such a maneuver, Fleischer said, would allow the income to be deferred and taken later at a lower 15 percent capital gains rate.

As of 2011, Ann Romney’s blind trust held between $100,000 and $1 million of that fund, according to Romney’s 2011 presidential financial disclosure statement.

Some of the Bain documents also show lists of underlying assets — which Romney did not provide in any of his disclosure statements in 2007, 2011 or 2012. The Bain Capital Fund VII files disclose that the fund invested in such companies as Bombardier Recreational Products, Burger King and Warner Music — all entities that Bain had publicly invested in over recent years.

Another Bain investment fund, Sankaty High Yield Partners II, based in Delaware, held nearly $3 million in loans to Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands. Adelson is the largest public donor in this year’s presidential race, giving more than $45 million to super political action committees benefiting Romney and other GOP candidates.

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